Windows Themes: Ready to change your Desktop Theme?

Part I - Windowblinds, Wallpapers, and Iconpackager

Thursday, November 16, 2006 by Island Dog | Discussion: Beginners

When you boot a new PC up for the first time, or right after a clean install of Windows XP or Vista, you are usually stuck with the usual default look.  Lets be perfectly honest, it's boring, it looks like everyone else's, it's just not your style, right?

Is this what it looks like?  Probably, but it doesn't have to stay that way.  You can make your Windows desktop look the way you want it to!  I'm going to run through the basics of turning that standard XP desktop into something that's not only great to look at, but can make you more productive as well.  We will do this by using Stardocks Object Desktop , which is a suite of desktop enhancement utilities designed to maximize your Windows experience.

I always start first by loading up Windowblinds and changing the visual style of Windows XP.  WindowBlinds will change the borders, start button, start menu, task bar, and almost every other part of the Windows user interface.  WindowBlinds includes several skins for you to use, but I would recommend heading over to where you can download some of the best skins for WindowBlinds.

After you install WindowBlinds you will see the Configuration window as shown below.

Now just browse through the list of skins and select the one you want to use.  Some skins have sub-styles, which could include variations in colors for that skin, or possibly the use of a compact menu design.  Just select the skin you want and click "Apply this skin now".  You should now notice a big difference in the appearance, but there's still more to do.

While you are still in the WindowBlinds Configuration window, click "Change my wallpaper" to view your selection of wallpapers.

Here you will be able to change the desktop wallpaper, and you can even set it to change every morning if you like.  Click the wallpaper settings, and you can add and change the folder locations of your wallpapers.  More advanced settings include having the wallpaper changed at various intervals such as a different wallpaper every time you logon to your desktop.

The next step is to use IconPackager.  Like WindowBlinds, it is also included in the Object Desktop suite or available as a stand-alone application.   IconPackager will allow you to change nearly all the Windows icons by applying "packages" of icons including Live Folders in Windows Vista.

Open Iconpackager, select the package you want to use, click load, then OK.  Your icons should change to match the package you selected.  What an improvement, huh?

Now we have done three simple things to change the appearance of our desktop.  Now these programs also have some advanced features, but I wanted to stick to basics for people who are just starting out. 

So here is our result after we changed the visual style, wallpaper, and icons in Microsoft Windows:

Looks like a great improvement to me!  Remember you can customize your desktop with the skins, wallpapers, icons, etc. that you like.  In the next part of this series I will discuss how to change your cursors, and how to add a dock to clear up some clutter on the desktop, among other things.  Visit the links below to find out more information about the applications used in this guide. 

Ready to change your desktop theme?

Reply #1 Thursday, November 16, 2006 8:53 AM
nice man..
Reply #2 Thursday, November 16, 2006 9:34 AM
Good article!
Reply #3 Thursday, November 16, 2006 6:55 PM
Reply #4 Friday, November 17, 2006 12:27 AM
It is very nice ID, as are most of tours of late. You're setting the standard

Also, I notices most of the OD interfaces have ben cleaned up significantly. Thanks guys, you are all awesome
Reply #5 Saturday, November 18, 2006 8:46 AM
Great job Spencer, as always. Thanks very much!
Alexis Edwin
Reply #6 Thursday, November 23, 2006 6:13 AM
Really, very intresting article.
Reply #7 Sunday, November 26, 2006 9:19 AM
It's a very interesting Article!
Please can i have the Link to the Wallpaper!?
greets and thanks!
Island Dog
Reply #8 Wednesday, August 15, 2007 1:48 PM
Updated with new screenshots.

Reply #9 Wednesday, August 15, 2007 2:01 PM
anis alamgire
Reply #10 Thursday, February 28, 2008 9:51 AM
Reply #11 Thursday, February 28, 2008 11:32 AM
Part 3 and Part 4
Are not working for me..

This is what I get
Server Error in '/' Application.
The resource cannot be found.
Description: HTTP 404. The resource you are looking for (or one of its dependencies) could have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable. Please review the following URL and make sure that it is spelled correctly.

Requested URL: /articles.aspx

Version Information: Microsoft .NET Framework Version:2.0.50727.1433; ASP.NET Version:2.0.50727.1433
Island Dog
Reply #12 Friday, February 29, 2008 7:22 AM

I can't seem to edit it right now, I will fix as soon as possible.

These articles are due for a major overhaul soon anyways. 


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